|31 Days of Horror: Day 6|
The Last House On the Left begins with Mari (Sandra Peabody), on her seventeenth birthday, explaining her party plans for the night to her parents. She's going into the big city for a concert with her friend, Phyllis (Lucy Grantham). Her parents (Richard Towers and Cynthia Carr) don't like it --- the city can be dangerous, Phyllis is a bad influence, and Mari won't wear a bra --- but she's their little girl growing up, so they let her go.
|"Bad influence? I'll drink to that!"|
|I didn't know Robin Gibb was a felon!|
|I guess I can understand why they thought he would have the good stuff|
|To add to the tragedy, nobody showed up to the party|
|About as good as the chances this scene won't lead to a cut-away shot?|
The acting in The Last House On the Left is all over the place. Sandra Peabody and Lucy Grantham were kind of annoying at the beginning of the film, but they both did a good job when their characters were miserable and abused.
|Ironically, the less you wanted to watch, the better the acting got|
|"What? A part in Swamp Thing doesn't impress you?!?"|
The Last House On the Left was the first film written or directed by Wes Craven. Despite the obviously low budget and exploitative nature of the story, he did a pretty good job. The violence shown on the screen was pretty graphic, especially for 1972, but the most heinous acts (rapesploitation) were thankfully implied and not explicitly shown. Still, the movie definitely has a brutal feel to it. I thought Craven did a good job developing Krug as a villain and I definitely liked the development of the parents throughout the movie. This isn't a fun movie to watch, but it feels plausible enough to make it kind of terrifying.
|"This one says 'Krug.' Which victim is mine?"|
|Some possessions were easier than others|
As good and scary and disturbing as parts of The Last House On the Left are, you would think that this would be a true horror classic. It is not. While the horrific parts are very well-made, there is the rest of the movie to contend with.
|"That's where I come in! Hyuk-yuck!"|
Well, maybe it's just me. Here's the gist of what happens: the police are at Mari's house, trying to convince her parents that the fact that she didn't come home that night did not imply something bad had happened to her. They're wrong, of course, but it sounds like the sort of thing you tell the parent of a missing child. The cops leave the house and notice a strange car on the side of the road, just past Mari's house. They consider checking it out (running the plates, looking for the owners, etc.) but decide that it would be a waste of time, because they're on the lookout for Krug and his gang. ***face palm*** After a while, a description of the car Krug was last seen in is sent out over police radio, the cops remember the abandoned automobile (D'OH!), and try to hurry there. That's when their car runs out of gas, because the deputy forgot to fill 'er up. (WAH-WAH) The two then
|"Wouldn't it be funny if competence is all that stood in the way of multiple homicides?"|
In all fairness, the police subplot is not the only instance where The Last House On the Left had awful and drastic shifts in tone. The (hideous) soundtrack was clearly set up to contrast with whatever was happening on screen. The casual dialogue between any of the characters in scenes that were not directly related to murderdeathkilling was stupid and painful to hear. But those cops...wow, they were bad. Even when you consider the offensive unevenness of this script, The Last House On the Left is still a pretty solid scary movie. I don't plan on watching this again, but it definitely gets credit for making me squirm in my seat.